The Arizona Fall League completed its season yesterday and the Peoria Javelinas stood victorious atop the league after six weeks of play. Seven players in the Padres organization (well, eight if you count Josh Spence up until November 6th) spent their Fall playing for the Javs and getting some good experience in.
- Robbie Erlin, who was named the Padres No. 7 prospect going into the 2012 season, went 2-1 in seven starts in the AFL. He struck out 31 batters and allowed six runs on 18 hits in 23 2/3 total innings of work. Erlin was instrumental in getting the Javs to the championship game, tossing five shutout innings on Thursday on their way to clinching the West Division. This came two days after he was named AFL Player of the Week.
- Kevin Quackenbush finished the season with 12 innings pitched. He gave up three earned runs in those 12 innings, but earned a league-leading seven saves, the last of which came in the championship game when he tossed a scoreless 9th to seal the victory for the Javs. Earlier this month, he pitched 2/3 of a scoreless inning in the AFL Rising Stars Game.
- Matthew Stites also got some good numbers out of the 'pen in the AFL this season. He pitched 15 total innings, allowing five runs on 13 hits while collecting 15 strikeouts, and was even the winning pitcher on one occasion.
- Nate Freiman went .265 this Fall, collecting 15 RBI and scoring 13 runs. He was one of the six finalists for the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award due to his leadership qualities and work ethic during his time in the AFL this offseason, but lost out to the Nationals' Cole Kimball. Freiman hit a 2-out RBI in the championship game to score fellow Padre Rymer Liriano for the winning run.
- Cory Spangenberg went 10-for-29, including a double and a home run, in eight games for Peoria. He scored six runs and drove in three more. He also drew eight walks and stole two bases this Fall.
- Jeudy Valdez batted .303 in 18 games for the Javs. In those 18 games, he collected 11 RBI and 18 runs scored, stole three bases, and hit two home runs.
- Liriano was probably the biggest story for the Padres in the AFL. He hit .340 in his 23 games this Fall, led the league with 24 runs scored, racked up 15 RBI, hit four homers, and collected six stolen bases. Along with Quackenbush, Liriano was also named an AFL West Rising Star this year. He went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored in the Rising Stars Game. He was a front-runner for AFL MVP coming into the championship game, where he was especially impressive. He went 3-for-3 with a walk and a run scored to help Peoria to the championship title. He lost out on MVP, however, to Rangers prospect Chris McGuiness of the AFL's Surprise Saguaros.
These Padres representatives, along with players from the Reds, Twins, Phillies, and Mariners spent the AFL season playing together as members of the Peoria Javelinas. They went 19-13 to lead the AFL West Division and faced the East Division's Salt River Rafters in yesterday's championship game. Tim Crabbe started the game for the Javs against the Rafters' Ryan Perry. Crabbe pitched 2 2/3 innings and Perry pitched 3 before handing it over to their bullpens.
Peoria struck early with two runs in the top of the 1st and a third run in the top of the 2nd. Salt River got a run back in the bottom of the 2nd. Liriano led off the top of the 3rd with a single. Three batters later, Freiman brought him home with this 2-out RBI single:
The Rafters chipped away at their deficit with two more runs in the bottom of the third. But that was the extent of the scoring for both teams and Peoria came out on top in the end. Stites pitched a scoreless 7th inning and later Quackenbush left his final mark on the 2012 AFL season by striking out the final batter to seal the victory:
But before the Javs could REALLY celebrate, they had to wait for a ruling on an official protest filed by Salt River over an appeal earlier in the game. In the 7th inning, with Brian Goodwin on third base, Chris Owings hit a fly ball which allowed Goodwin to tag and run home, where home plate ump Travis Carlson signaled safe. However, the Javs appealed to 3B ump Nick Bailey, who called Goodwin out for leaving third base early. The Rafters filed the protest on the ground of the multiple calls (first by Carlson then by Bailey). However, AFL director Steve Cobb announced that the protest had been denied because rules state that a defensive team is allowed to appeal the same play at multiple positions.
The Javs were then allowed to celebrate by jumping up and down while hugging each other and slapping butts and popping champagne and whatnot:
Spangenberg and Quackenbush celebrated with the ever classic air hump:
Valdez and Liriano celebrated with the Double Top Gun Five:
I can't wait to see a WHOLE team of players in Padres jerseys celebrating a championship next October.
This post is sponsored by Jack in the Box.